Many women worry that they won't be able to succeed at breastfeeding with breast implants. Having a breast augmentation doesn't necessarily mean that you can't breastfeed, however. In fact many women have great success breastfeeding after surgery. Do you have a breastfeeding story you'd like to share with our readers? We'd love to hear from you!
Type of Surgery
One of the greatest factors in determining your success at breastfeeding with implants is the type of surgery you have.
- Areola incision: One of the most common augmentation surgeries is a cut around the areola. While this is often the simplest procedure, it can make breastfeeding more difficult if nerve damage occurs.
- Breast fold incision: Women who have this type of surgery generally have success at breastfeeding.
- Armpit incision: There typically isn't any problems breastfeeding after this type of surgery either.
- Nerve damage: The greatest risk to breastfeeding with breast implants comes from any nerve damage that might have been done during the surgery. Milk production is stimulated by the release of two hormones, prolactin and oxytocin. These hormones are released when they receive a signal from the brain. The brain signals their release in response to the nerves which surround the areola. When a baby latches on and begins to suck, the nerves act as a switch, triggering the brain to release those milk producing hormones. Nerve damage can impair these nerves causing the breast to have little to no milk production.
- Sensitivity: The other side of the coin is too much sensitivity. Silicone or saline implants may make your nipples more or less sensitive.
- Engorgement: Once your milk comes in, you may experience intense pain, accompanied by fever and chills. Contact your doctor if you experience these symptoms.
- Milk production: Small breasts which have been augmented may also cause you to have difficulty producing enough milk to sustain your baby. If this is the case, you'll need to nurse often for the first few weeks or months, and pump after each time your breastfeed to encourage more milk production.
- Leaking: Many women become concerned that a breast implant's solution might leak into the milk supply. Because most implants are made of saline, however, there typically isn't any cause for concern.
Breastfeeding with Breast Implants
Because your body's milk supply may be limited if you attempt breastfeeding with breast implants, it's important to monitor your baby's weight for the first few months of his life. It's important to let your baby's pediatrician know that you have breast implants. The two of you will need to monitor your baby's feeding patterns to see if you may need to supplement the breast milk with formula.
The majority of women with breast implants who want to breastfeed are able to do so. For more support, contact your local La Leche League. They can help you with any of your breastfeeding questions.